equality matters, post #328

 

sarah bessey hopeful women and men

yesterday my lovely and gifted blog friend sarah bessey’s new book was released. it’s called Jesus feminist, and i hope that you will buy a copy and let the beauty of her words sink into deep places into your heart and practice.

obviously, she is singing a song that is music to my ears.

i haven’t counted the posts i’ve written about it, but i know there have been a lot.

here’s why.

the battle for equality is far from won, but we are making progress.

more and more women are stepping into who they were created to be, and more and more men are realizing how much we’ve missed without women’s voices and are intentionally making room at the table.  stained glass ceilings are breaking. men & women are partnering and collaborating. advocates for justice around the world are emerging. passion for the tangible kingdom of God here, now, is erupting all over the place. it’s so pretty to see.

i want to celebrate it.

at the same time, it’s important to not forget–we still have a long way to go. deeply engrained into our psyche and culture and practices is a tilt against not only women but all kinds of shapes and sizes of people without power.

patriarchy is strong, and it will not go down easy.

and the only way to change the course of history is to change the course of history.

but this won’t happen sitting in our houses thinking about changing it.

it will happen when we start to step into who we were created to be.

when we listen to the call in our hearts to lead, to serve, to love, to advocate, to create, to nurture.  it looks different for each of us, but if we listen down deep, we each have a call, a passion, a deep desire, a dream no matter how big or small.

when we move that call into action and have to stand in disapproval from others who think we are unbiblical, prideful, rebellious, or silly. 

when we resist the pull of shame and use our voices anyway.

when we ask our church leaders to reconsider their positions and find new church homes when they refuse to let women fully lead as equals, not just workers.

when we stand alongside each other as women in solidarity and support.  when we encourage and pray and love and honor one another, using any power we each have to support another sister stepping into hers. 

when we call on the safe men in leadership and in our lives and remind them that we need their help, their influence, their support.

when we embrace our giftedness and passions and find spaces and places to use them.

when we partner with other men & women working alongside each other as friends and teammates and equal partners in kingdom collaborating. 

when we advocate for women’s equality as a natural part of our lives to pave the way for the mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends coming behind us.

Jesus was a feminist.  he advocated for women.  he restored the dignity of women. he rocked the boat on behalf of women. he stood against the powers that be on behalf of God’s daughters.

equality is a core kingdom value.   and it’s a verb.

like so many other things, we have jacked it up with our human desire to control and power-up, and the consequences are grave.  horrid things are happening to women around the world, and this is why we can’t just stand by and let the power of patriarachy keep us silent.

their freedom is tied up in our freedom.

we can’t stand by while 50% of the population is underneath another.

there’s just no way that could have ever been Jesus’ big idea.

the way to change the course of history is to change the course of history–one life at a time, one family at a time, one group at a time, one organization at a time, one church at a time.

i see it everywhere i look, small pockets of freedom, women stepping into who they were meant to be.  it’s so beautiful, but trust me–after a few stories i heard just this week–the grooves run deep and we are in desperate need of God’s healing and restoration for the brokenness we’ve created.

and the best way to get there is to say out loud with our words, our actions, our lives–in small ways and in big ways–that equality matters.

really matters.

and in the words of sarah bessey, my prayer is that we’d be among the “hopeful men and women who love, and who are part of  the redemptive movement of God in the world.”

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

18 Comments

  • I agree whole heartedly. And my anxiety just shot up at the thought because patriarchy can be very violent and angry. even deadly. Honestly, the courage it takes to stand up to it….I have been trying to find since a very small child. This is no small thing my friend at least for some of us.

    Reply
    • oh i love this reminder about how truly difficult it is to stand up against such a strong undercurrent that pervades so much. it is no small thing. it’s why we need God’s spirit and encouragement from each other to take whatever small steps we can toward freedom. grateful for your heart and story.

      Reply
  • “When we move that call into action and have to stand in disapproval from others who think we are unbiblical, prideful, rebellious, or silly. When we resist the pull of shame and use our voices anyway.” Amen. For some of us, internet trolls and angry emails from strangers would be a welcome form of “persecution.” I would take those any day of the week if it meant I had the full support of my family of origin.

    Reply
    • yeah, when our inner circle doesn’t support us, that is so painful. i know many in that spot and it really hurts. thanks for taking time to share this reality. you are not alone in it.

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  • “when we stand alongside each other as women in solidarity and support.
    when we call on the safe men in leadership and in our lives and
    remind them that we need their help, their influence, their support.”

    I first of all felt sad Kathy for you and other women for there being any need for solidarity among women. It’s sad that there is any such need and if we can’t find that as men and women together. I hope that in some small way my contributions here can be of help, influence and provide support. And by the way we men equally need you women too!

    I love the opening lines of the book starting with:

    “Let us be women who love
    Let us be women willing to lat down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence, and towering silence and fill the earth now with extravagent love.”

    Interestingly, I was having a discussions this week about using female attributes to God. The ideas of Sophia in the hebrew language or the word “Ruach” to describe the Holy Spirit like a wind and the onomatopeic pronunciation of “Ruach” convering power. Of wisdom being desribed as feminine etc. In the groups I was in there were three men and one woman. Interestingly it was the men that did the talking, and when I encouraged the woman to speak I could see that she wasn’t confident in the company to do so.

    It’s difficult isn’t it? How do we value all? I’m always nervous when I hear talk of Jesus being a feminst or any move against patriarchy. I fear that anyone not being a feminist being perceived as not being for equality and there not being checks and balances in place to learn from where ther has been opression such that we don’t end up going the other way into matriarchy.

    So while I am for equality and justice, I can never really wave the flag for the feminist and anti-patriarchal movement. What I have expereinced in life is that a woman in power can be every bit as opressive as a man. And it worries me that in an attempt to find equality and justice by being feminist and anti-partiarcal that we don’t end up adressing opression and finding equality and justice, but end up with opression of a different form.

    It is very difficult as a man when faced with opression from a woman in power to be taken seriously and for it to be adressed. In my expereince, it appears to be that the man is the ogre and the woman is the daffodil, but that is not always the case. And so, in issues like we talk of here, what I have learnt is in order to take care of myself, I need to used energy to keep myself guarded and push back that could be used to help, influence and be of provision to women in thier struggles.

    Reply
  • The church and denomination I grew up in never taught anything about women being anything but equal. The denomination had men and women pastors and denominational leaders from its beginning over one hundred years ago. I never heard the idea that women were anything less than men ever mentioned.

    It wasn’t until we moved to California in the 70’s that we heard that there were churches that even believed this, but we thought those we only a few small groups that with strange ideas. Only in recent years have we heard otherwise. Unknowingly we began attending a church that believed this, although they didn’t advertise it. I soon found out which men in that group went along with the idea, and figured out what traits they had in common. Of course we parted ways with that church.

    I’m just curious. Is this idea something that was held by a only a few people and then became popular in recent years in some churches or geographic areas?

    Reply
    • i think that it did go down that way in some circles; there have been some denominations it was a non-issue for for a long time, but in so much of the mainstream, this hierarchical nuttiness has pervaded. one of the things i most appreciate about you is you refuse to participate in systems that oppress.

      Reply
  • ” when we partner with other men & women working alongside each other as friends and teammates and equal partners in kingdom collaborating.” <—- learning this in practice. It never dawned on me that in doing so, it equates to participation in the movement that many have paved the way before. Don't want to set history back, soooo continuing to practice being comfortable in one's skin seems like a better option. 🙂

    Reply

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